RENTON — Climbing up Jesse Williams’ right calf is his most recent tattoo.
He’s a large man — 6-foot-3 and 312 pounds — largely covered by tattoos.
This seven-week-old tattoo is of a letter his grandmother sent him, saying how proud she was of her Australian-born grandson.
The defensive tackle had his own point of pride this summer after going through rookie minicamp, organized team activities and minicamp without pain in his knees. He tried to tough it out last year after being drafted in the fifth round out of Alabama, but his knees wouldn’t hold up. He was shut down, placed on injured reserve and went back to Australia to rehabilitate.
“Feeling really good to get back out there,” Williams said at the end of minicamp.
He came back in Week 16 of last year to continue his rehab in Seattle. He went to meetings and easily learned the playbook.
“It’s a lot simpler than playing at Alabama was,” Williams said.
Williams had arthroscopic knee surgery right after the 2012 national title game. He went to the combine shortly after, then into camp with the other Seahawks rookies. His knee didn’t get much of a break.
To fix it, Williams received Orthokine injections, which help with joint pain, lost some weight and took time to rest. His knees were in such bad shape before, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll wondered what Williams’ future was.
“I thought that maybe Jesse was done,” Carroll said. “We didn’t know coming out of the last season. He had a tremendous offseason. His rehab work was great. He worked every day. He’s ready to get in the middle of it. To bring that guy back to us at full speed could be really a great addition.
“He’s one of those guys that comes to us — and Jordan Hill too — that didn’t play for us last year, and Benson Mayowa who didn’t play at all to speak of — those guys come back and with their red-shirt year behind them, they really add to the roster and the competitiveness of the whole thing.”
Williams says this is the best he’s felt since before arriving at Alabama. He’ll be battling with Hill for backup snaps in the middle since the Seahawks acquired Kevin Williams to go with mainstay Brandon Mebane at the tackle spots.
This year, at least, Williams has a shot.
“Sort of a welcome back party for my legs,” Williams said.
firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas